John D. Freyer

(American, b.1971)

, 2000 - 01
HTML code and domain name
Museum purchase, 2002.3 is the digital record of a web-based project questioning the relationships between people and the things they buy. Beginning in October 2000, John D. Freyer undertook a project to document everything he owned, sell each item utilizing the nascent technology of internet auction websites, and eventually, travel all over the world to meet the buyers. Seventeen years after the original project, the website is, on one hand, a digital time capsule containing not only correspondence but diary-like descriptions of each item sold; Freyer’s highly personal and often amusing entries on fake currency, canned ham, and a vinyl record featuring the voices of six former presidents are documents of life in the United States at very particular historical moment at the turn of the twenty-first century. On the other hand, is as relevant as ever, reflecting on the mind-boggling volume of material goods amassed by the average American each year.  


Freyer’s early acceptance of digital technology and in particular, its potential for participatory or crowd-sourced artistic methods has resonances with Vero Rose Smiths practice. Both artists embrace twentieth-century technology as a means of critiquing corporate throwaway culture and encouraging viewers/users to forge human connections in the midst of an increasingly automated world. 


This post was researched and written by University of Iowa art history PhD candidate Elizabeth Spear.